Coercing the Will and Priming the Pump of Purpose to Control the Neurophysiology of Learning

One of the most fascinating sources of my insights into what is actually driving education reforms is when I read something that is demonstrably untrue. One fairly recent example is this 2013 article from the American Psychological Association insisting that Positive Psychology (PP) is not grounded in Humanistic Psychology (HP) from the 60s. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Humanistic-Positive-Psychology-Divide-AP.pdf Now I happened to know that was not true from many other sources, and although that misleading article does not mention education, we know from my research just how crucial PP is now to the mandated classroom and schoolroom culture. It’s a theory that can force “Developmentally rich contexts [that] can function as a ‘constructive web’ through which complex dynamic skills are developed and positive adaptation is fostered. Such experiences lead to the integration of neural structures that establish representational templates through which future experiences are interpreted, reappraised, and processed.”

Talk about neurophysiology! That quote was from the Turnaround for Children touted paper “Drivers of Human Development: How relationships and context drive learning and development” mentioned in the last post. It sought to “integrate the underlying processes of neural malleability and plasticity with the dynamic relational interconnectedness of children and the adults with whom they interact in their social, cultural, and physical contexts” so that schools and other contexts can “operationalize ‘relationship’ in a manner that accounts for the power of relationships in constructive ways.” Constructive for whom, we might ask? Sounds much like the Humanist Psychology research from the 60s, that the NEA underwrote, where the student’s prescribed experiences of Being could alter the nature of what they would be Becoming. “Drivers of Human Development” simply called for:

“Schools with instructional and curricular designs that support learner-centered instruction and learning environments that successfully integrate affective, cognitive, social, and emotional processes with curricular content to accelerate the developmental range of students.”

The nice thing about having been at this for so long now and in such depth is simply the ability to know where I can go to disprove a point or find a common aspiration decades ago. Language in a 2017 Australian paper called “Education for a Changing World” reminded me of how prescribed learning standards and competencies could be used to force the neurophysiological changes described above. I remembered reading the 1972 UNESCO Faure report called Learning to Be and how creepy the political use of reimagined education was in that report. At the height of the Cold War, we have authors from France, Chile, Syria, the Congo, the Soviet Union, and the USA (specifically tied to the Ford Foundation) laying out a desire to target the brains of students globally because

“what is known as formal democracy–which it would be wrong to deride, for it marked great progress–has become obsolete…the aim and content of education must be recreated, both to allow for the new features of society and the new features of democracy.”

That convergent vision of what education could do to literally change people always seems to lay at the center of all the deceit surrounding education reforms, the sought Human Development Society grounded in Uncle Karl’s work, and the true nature of his little ‘c’ communism vision. Tomorrow is Election Day in the US, but all over the world people running for office are advocating for the new vision of ‘democracy’ laid out in that Faure Report. Education reimagined was a primary tool for achieving a new vision of ‘democracy’–“conceived of as implying each man’s right to realize his own potential and to share in the building of his own future. The keystone of democracy, so conceived, is education–not only education that is accessible to all, but education whose aims and methods have been thought out afresh.”

That’s exactly what Outcomes-Based Education, Positive Psychology school climate mandates, Competency Frameworks, and Learner Exit Profiles all do when accurately understood, which is why there has been so much organized deceit around them to create a different narrative. We are not supposed to recognize the Marxian Human Development Society when it gets repackaged as Democracy. We are not supposed to recognize that all those listed, misrepresented education ‘reforms’ as well as social emotional learning mandates now go to fulfill the next Faure assumption after reconceiving Democracy:

“The third assumption is that the aim of development is the complete fulfillment of man, in all the richness of his personality, the complexity of his forms of expression and his various commitments–as individual, member of a family and of a community, citizen, and producer, inventor of techniques and creative dreamer.”

How to operationalize that aspiration in the 21st Century? How about Turnaround for Children’s work or Strive Together’s framework on necessary conditions for children to thrive? Use education reforms to take advantage of “The ability of contextual influences to encourage adaptive epigenetic signatures and to buffer factors that contribute to maladaptive epigenetic signatures provides a powerful lever to unleash children’s genetic potential.” Turns out the author of that APA misleading article cited above is an expert in something called Eudaimonic Identity Theory. In other words, he desires to use education to operationalize what the Faure Report, HP supporters, and PP advocates all say they want from education.

Basically, in order to operationalize the Human Development Society, it needed to be renamed and misdescribed to the average parent, taxpayer, and voter. But I have more than average knowledge, and I do get to recognize the significance of what I am looking at, what it ties to from the past, and what those theories originally aimed to do. Following other false narratives about a week ago pulled up a connection between Positive Psychology; what is called Self-Determination Theory that I first stumbled across tracking down the history behind school charter language; and using Neuorophysiology to create both a sense of Subjective Well-Being and a culture of horizontality. Then I noticed that the culture of horizontality fit with what public schools call Positive School Climate and what Common Core alternatives, like Ridgeview Classical charter School, laid out as its Five Pillars to have its curriculum instill in students. Too much convergence in other words to be coincidental.

If this seems like a lot of acronyms and theories, what if the mandated practices and prescribed learning experiences seek to rewire the brain for political purposes towards collectivism? What if ‘evidence-based policymaking’ seeks to utilize the so-called “universal importance of felt autonomy'” to rewire the brain so that there is only the perception of autonomy, not any actual autonomy? Is this what Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev told Urie Bronfenbrenner would be the Great Experiment on the West? The timing of that statement fits with the Faure Report and the use of Bronfenbrenner’s Theories so that “properly designed action-contexts meet or enhance peoples’ basic psychological needs and allow people to fully internalize the motivation to engage in that context: as a result, they learn, thrive, and grow to the maximal extent in that context.”

That came from a 2011 book Human Autonomy in Cross-Cultural Contexts where I took notes until I encountered Chapter 4: “Dialectical Relationships Among Human Autonomy, the Brain, and Culture” that so thoroughly fit with legal education mandates that I printed the whole chapter so I could write in the margin as it discussed targeting the neurophysiology of the areas of the brain “associated with deciding when to act, which actions to perform, and the feeling of ownership of these actions.” See what I mean about the feeling of autonomy not reflecting actual autonomy? If education is reimagined to ‘train’ the “fundamental capacity of human beings to construct a socio-symbolic reality that constitutes the essence of their living environments” and prescribe the “meanings and practices that govern their lives,” we have perceived autonomy, but not actual autonomy.

Yet it is apparently the perception of autonomy that provides the access to changing the brain physically. It is the “Open, Sesame” equivalent to gain neural access. If theories on the “role socio-cultural conditions play in the emergence and operation of human autonomy” are being imposed in the classroom or in an online digital experience to ‘train’ students “in the appropriate use of” their ‘symbolic reflective capacity’ to manipulate their goals, purposes, and emotions and then rewire the brain accordingly through prescribed experiences and ‘training’ activities, we only have the illusion of autonomy. The Faure Report’s reimagining of education in the name of Democracy has truly found its way in.

If the source of an “individual’s own regulative activity: wants, desires, and thoughts” must be targeted by education to meet civil rights law mandates of Equity, then the autonomy is once again illusory. If the Learner Exit Profiles get at the “values, life-goals, and world-views that people internalize from their socio-cultural environments during their socialization and develop in later years as an autonomous system of their own moral laws and values,” then the extent to which these moral laws and values are their own is once again illusory. All of education then seeks to interfere with and manipulate the student’s “goal-setting process.” It is being engineered for “providing the means and conditions under which they can exercise this emergent capacity [of the brain] to the fullest extent” so that the students will fit into a desired culture of horizontal collectivism.

Since no one is telling the truth except in papers we are not supposed to possess, let me close this post with the definition of horizontal collectivism italicized just like that for emphasis. It is a:

“set of norms and practices that are built around the values of cooperation, interdependence, and solidarity and that are practiced on the background of the norms of equality and respect for each member of a community regardless of his or her social status. People who endorse horizontal collectivism on a psychological level take into account and acknowledge other people’s needs and goals and attribute to them the same level of respect as one gives to oneself. They mindfully listen to other people’s opinions and perspectives and take them into account when making their decisions. This type of interpersonal relation has been labelled ‘dialogical’, ‘democratic’,  and ‘autonomy supportive’.”

This transformative vision is not limited though to education or the targeting of the psychological self at a neural, biological level. No, this required ‘horizontality’ is to be “exercised in the most important areas of a society’s functionings–parenting, education, work, and politics.”

Keep that last aim in mind as we go vote for candidates who love to use words about transformation, Democracy, and a world where All can Thrive. Bet they envision using education to create the conditions laid out in that Faure Report, whatever the level of governmental office they are running for and whatever the party.

This is a global, Bipartisan, long-standing vision to use education, political mandates, and the Rule of Law to force internal psychological change for political purposes towards collectivism.

It’s no wonder I keep stumbling across the aims of communitarianism on both the Right and Left from public policy think tanks. Can we say “Ubiquitous Undisclosed Vision”?

No longer Undisclosed.

 

Guaranteeing Surreptitious Mind Shifting Requires Binding Unknown Research and Coordination

Building on what we found in the actual language of HPL II from the last post, I want to talk about precisely how what is being referred to authoritatively as the Science of Learning & Development https://www.turnaroundusa.org/landmark-papers-science-learning-development-published-applied-developmental-science/ makes it all the way to the local classroom, fidelity to the purpose of the theory intact. First though, let’s detour to the always forthcoming Harlan Cleveland (HC) and what he wrote in 1998 about how to guarantee the desired “guarantee mind shifting” necessary to create a means of “organizing human beings to work together toward common goals.” It was laid out in an article called “Religion and Governance” available here http://www.wnrf.org/cms/govern.shtml , which makes it crystal clear that the Integral Mindset we keep encountering and its sought Arational, non-Axemaker Mind, was called the “Transmodern Way of Thinking” by HC [who has an ISC tag].

Cleveland wanted to make “human beings the dominant actors in their own future evolution,” which may sound pie-in-the-sky until we recognize just how seminal ‘learner agency’ is to what is being called The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: How emotions and social relationships drive learning in a little publicized paper released last month by the Aspen Institute. HC once headed the Aspen Institute, which makes this concern about how “citizens have been slow to change” all the more alarming. HC also wrote (remember his pursuits in the 80s are covered in CtD) that:

“many countries citizens have been slow to change their minds because their leaders fear the consequences of ‘many flowers blooming’–as Mao Tse-Tung did, even though he popularized the phrase–in gardens they wish to control. But it’s dangerous not to take full advantage of new learning technologies; the breakdown of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union bears witness.”

Sounds like regret, doesn’t it? Sadness over lost transformation opportunities of leaders not using the powers of innovation to create “more satisfying belief systems” that are “open to adaptation” and instill a desired “inner sense of what is appropriate.” On that note, one of the backers of those papers above, EducationCounsel, the policy arm of Richard Riley’s law firm that also represents school districts, has worked with the same CCSSO that created the Common Core to create Principles of Effective School Implementation Systems https://ccsso.org/resource-library/school-improvement-principles-1-10-questions-ask-yourself and Deep Dive Principle 1 insists that “schools will provide effective and engaging instruction within a supportive school culture.”

All terms with a definite meaning under HPL II, its troika, and those Turnaround papers. What is effective though is not just about listed Outcomes where “students will be academically prepared.” Students will also be “socially responsible,” which sounds remarkably like a Garden to be Controlled in the 21st century by ‘public policy’ and legal mandates. Principle #2 fleshes out that garden by referencing the “full range of knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary for students to succeed in college, career, and civic life.” Mindsets is a synonym in these documents which is sometimes replaced by Dispositions, Attitudes, or Attributes. By any of these names, it gets at the needed:

“epigenetic adaptation [grounded in experience]–the biological process through which these reciprocal individual-context relations create qualitative changes to our genetic makeup over time, both within and across generations…Genes are chemical ‘followers’, not the prime movers, in developmental processes; their expression at the biological level is determined by contextual influences.”

‘Contextual influences’ is more commonly known now as prescribed ‘learning experiences’ aimed at getting at the internalized realm of a student’s KBVAF–knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, and faith–to gain the desired new values and patterns of thinking. https://www.turnaroundusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Key-Findings-and-Implications-of-the-Science-of-Learning-Development.pdf was the source of that quote and one of its primary authors is one of the keynoters at this week’s iNACOL conference in Nashville. Here’s another quote since the “human relationship is a primary process through which biological and contextual factors mutually reinforce each other” and the “human relationship is an integrated network of enduring emotional ties, mental representations, and behaviors that connect people across time and space.”

Is it any wonder that Positive School Climates and social and emotional learning then are being legally mandated for intervention as Student Success and School Improvement using every legal vehicle available? We now are to consider both children and adults as ‘developmental systems’ where governments and other institutions seek to intervene to control the:

“continuous interaction between the individual and the context of each individual’s relationships and experiences. [Human] development is shaped by a convergence of individual, biological, contextual, cultural, and historical factors…An understanding of neural malleability and plasticity, the dynamics of resilience, and the interconnectedness of individuals with their social and physical contexts offers a transformational opportunity to influence the trajectories of children’s lives.”

While making them ‘socially responsible” to boot, huh? Remember how HC loved that garden metaphor for the potential of controlling the mind? Well, the unpublicized Aspen paper above opens with telling us that “the developmental sculpting of the brain’s networks through learning is akin to the process of growing a botanical garden.” Maybe, but none of us get to pick out either the landscape architect or gardener doing the planning, mowing, or pruning. Politicians, public policy think tanks, academics, and other TOGAS–translocal organizations of government actors, like CCSSO–are the one’s planning to utilize “the brain’s plasticity, the very adaptability that allows us to adjust to the demands of our environments…as a critical opportunity and responsibility for education.”

No wonder these aims were called Tranformational Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s with a true aim to target the “situations, problems, ideas, and social relationships… that a person engages with [so that] these experiences [will] influence patterns of brain structure and function that undergird a person’s changing skills and inclinations over time.” Then comes the garden metaphor language followed by:

“Just as a garden grows differently in different climates and with different climates and with different plants, styles of gardening, and use, a person’s brain develops differently depending on age, predispositions, priorities, experiences, and environment. When given adequate opportunity, support, and encouragement, children naturally think, feel emotions, and engage with their social and physical worlds. And these patterns [KBVAF] of thoughts, feelings, and engagement organize brain function over time and in age-specific ways, influencing growth, intelligence, and health into the future.”

If that only sounds a bit creepy as a mandate for intervention as School Improvement or Student Achievement https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/EdCounsel-AIR-ESSA-State-Plans-School-Improvement-Event-May-2018.pdf , how about an image of firing within the brain while discussing the depicted area as (2) the right and left insulae, which sense the viscera and can be thought of as feeling emotion-related ‘gut’ responses and integrating those feelings with cognitive processes; and (3) regions of the Default Mode Network that are involved with processing the psychological self, building coherent narratives, calling up personal memories, and thinking about beliefs and moral values.”

How intrusive. No wonder we get euphemisms about School Improvement, Higher Order Thinking Skills, and Student Success instead of the open statement that brain structure and functional change for transformative political purposes requires students:

“be willing and able to tackle challenging tasks…to also learn to perceive themselves as capable of succeeding, which illustrates the connection between cognitive and emotional capacities. Learning environments that are structured to be consistent with how the brain develops generally include these features: They place the learner’s emotional and social experience at the forefront. Productive learning environments attend to learners’ subjective perceptions and help students build scholarly and social identities that incorporate their new skills and knowledge. They help people to feel safe and purposeful, and to believe that their work is important, relevant, and valuable.”

Now does all the role playing and references to learning to Think like a Scientist, Historian, or Mathematician make more sense? It’s all about a means to gain the desired neural change that fuses circuitry uniting emotion with thought. The remaining needed features for neural change, also bold-faced are age-appropriate exploration and discovery that allows “learning important concepts and skills” and exploring “essential questions.” No, we do not get to decide what is ‘important’ or ‘essential’, anymore than we get to pick out the border shrubs for this metaphorical neural garden. “They support flexible and efficient thinking. [where] productive learning environments attend to the trade-off between plasticity and efficiency in brain development, strategically offering activities that encourage flexible thinking along with those that encourage mastery of necessary building-block skills and knowledge.”

Next we get “help students acquire habits of mind and character. Productive learning environments help students acquire habits of mind that facilitate acquisition of age-appropriate knowledge and skills, reasoning, and ethical reflectiveness. These habits of mind become tools for navigating the world as a learner, bringing curiosity, interest, persistence, and a deep thirst for understanding.” They left out that habits of mind are largely unconscious so these learners are being guided by the same instilled internal rudder I call the Invisible Serfs Collar. How right I was with my own metaphors.

Now we know why we keep encountering required practices for the classroom that “attend to the development of the whole child in context, and the need for aligned partnerships throughout the community that can support children’s and their families’ health and well-being.” No wonder this vision of education and the omnipresent communitarian emphasis “is a necessity for all children” and every type of school.

For these political and social plans to gain effect without effective opposition in time, education needs to be about forcing planned interdependence in the neural circuitry of each citizen’s “cognitive, emotional, and social processing.”

I can see why euphemisms, undisclosed alliances, and legal mandates are so necessary to such a vision to gain Implementation with Fidelity.

Healing the Psychological Split Within Ourselves is the Learning Transformation Goal Few Openly Express

Let’s see if I can bring together a wide variety of sources from people of varying political labels which appear to me to be headed to the same place. The first part of that explicit and startling goal came from a 2013 book Dawn of the Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World from our old friend with his own ISC tag, Ervin Laszlo. We have also met his son Alexander, in connection with introducing us to Pavel Luksha and GEFF-Global Education Futures Forum, and his son Christopher, who is involved with transforming business schools globally through a UN-affliated entity called PRME and executive leadership retraining programs. If all three are interested in transforming human systems, Ervin wants to make it all humanity and his sons specialize in schools and businesses, respectively. Influential, in other words, in hugely crucial domains, whether we are aware of their work or not.

In education, Laszlo was involved with pushing intentional cultural evolution in the mid-80s with other ISC favorites with their own tags like Riane Eisler, Csik with his Excellence template, and Bela Banathy who created the vision for charter schools as a place to practice theories of reform. All these troubling quotes, in other words, have a way into the school or online learning platform near you whether that is appreciated or not. Let’s see what Ervin intends now:

“The need to integrate and heal the psychological split within ourselves and embrace a unified and harmonious political partnership is essential if we are ever to shift the balance and co-create with the systemwide sociopolitical systems in existence today. It will require psychologically integrated and spiritually balanced humanitarians to guide twenty-first century humanity in a new direction. It is such people who can offer the greatest potential for the evolutionary transformation of humanity and a peaceful and sustainable global community.”

Ervin stated that “global authority systems” can be used to “integrate an intelligent and sophisticated vision of collaboration”, which is exactly what learning standards like the Common Core or competency frameworks do when properly understood. Hence the reason for so much deceit. These plans are not supposed to be recognized nor the alignment in visions among different groups. Let’s use one more Akashic quote before we pivot to what is being put forth in the name of Conservatism: “The level of change required for the planet to shift toward a sustainable, harmonious, and more equitable future calls for us–awakening humanity–to draw on all our physical, creative, and visionary capacities. This is no sudden call; We have been forewarned. Our human systems and our worldviews have been undergoing preparation for some time for the transition to a global paradigm. A new era of social organization, communication, and understanding has been unfolding in the twenty-first century as the old systems reached their peak and began to decline.”

It’s no secret I have been tracking why self-billed Conservatives now push a vision I identify as communitarianism and Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, while also misdirecting readers on the true nature of education reforms, so when I read about a 2017 book called Patriotism is Not Enough on the Ideas that supposedly “Redefined American Conservatism,” I found the book.  I learned that Conservatism now aspires for social sciences such as education to be normative, not just descriptive. “This requires a political science of an entirely different disposition, one that is concerned first and foremost with the condition of the human soul rather than the structure of government institutions or the foundations of the law.” That quote is not an aberration as a few pages earlier, we have the quote: “Politics, if practiced as anything but an art of the soul, is bound to fail.” I also learned that Conservatism now views the “formation of character” as the “principal duty of government.”

Suddenly Classical Education’s pitches about Moral Virtues and Good, True, and Beautiful as new educational goals makes more sense if Conservatism itself wants to impose an “objective moral basis of human life. Ultimately, this cannot be done without a view to the good of the human soul, with an idea of human excellence and happiness that is not just an idiosyncratic individual exercise of the will.” Not a matter of personal choice then, but imposed and something held by a group. Boy, that sounds just like the goals from the Classical Education promoting Circe Institute in a September 5, 2018 blog post called “False Happiness and Human Flourishing: Part Two.” See if this doesn’t sound like Ervin Laszlo’s collective goals for transformation with presupplied purposes, but with a different rationale for the new kind of education.

“The great secret, as C.S. Lewis asserted many years ago, is that God is a hedonist at heart. God tells us to say no to many things, but only that we may say yes to higher and better thing! God instructs us to say no to avarice and prodigality in order that we may say yes to generosity. He commands that we say no to selfishness and self-centeredness so that we may say yes to love and community. If we make higher things–God’s things–our goal, our lives will flourish and they will be filled with moments of unexpected ecstasy and joy…”

Now let’s pivot to one of the withdrawn books I alluded to in the last post, which is interesting as the book The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution was published in 2003. It is definitely New Agey in its approach and is by the author of the Esalen book–The Upstart Spring.It used a member of the GEFF Board, Howard Rheingold, as a back cover blurb advocating for the book. Relevant in other words to where global education, especially in the US, is really going. That became even more clear since the already tagged Robert Kegan and his desires for new forms of consciousness were laid out in the book. For anyone who has not read Credentialed to Destroy (shame on you!), it is Robert Kegan’s work that PISA assesses for as Key Competences and higher ed is also being reimagined around his Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Competencies work.

Omnipresent in other words as a goal of both K-12 and higher ed reforms, which makes this quote all the more relevant as The Next Enlightenment urged us to “master new cognitive skills. The most important of these skills is what he [Kegan] calls the ability to ‘objectify’–to recognize as socially constructed and contingent rather than as God-given and eternal fundamental concepts such as selfhood, nationality, or religion. That doesn’t mean rejecting them, only seeing them as matters about which some sort of decision can be made. Without developing such an ability we remain trapped in our social structures.”

Those pesky existing social structures then need new forms of consciousness and new values, which is exactly what everyone I have quoted seems to be in agreement on. The sought change may be marketed as a “global ‘skill revolution’ that often takes the form of political action [as with last week’s G20 Declaration from Argentina Betsy DeVos committed the US to] but is fundamentally psychological.” Learning standards and competency frameworks in K-12 are examples of tools for “cognitive development in individuals [which] leads inevitably to the larger subject of cognitive evolution in societies and the human species.” It’s just that some writers like Laszlo or Anderson (quoted just now) admit that is what education reforms are all about and others do not. As Anderson said, if “enlightenment is cognitive development, and the various approaches to that development, whether we call them spirituality or psychology [or political science, Conservatism, or Classical Ed], are just different ways of groping the same elephant.”

That elephant is the human mind and personality and the big bullseye all these plans have placed on it to be purposefully transformed are just not well enough understood. Let’s use a different Robert Kegan quote from The Next Enlightenment that may be why the public library put it in the Discard bin. After all, it was Kegan the Hewlett Foundation hired to make sure the Common Core assessments would be assessing what it pushes as Deep Learning.  Anderson rightfully called Kegan “another of the big time moral development researchers” without pointing out that his mentor was Lawrence Kohlberg whose Moral Development Theory became the basis for the reimagined Hong Kong compulsory citizenship push Communist China imposed. Everyone then interested in individual or collective transformation wants to get at the level of values and beliefs. Quoting:

“the key process in epistemological change is what he [Kegan] calls ‘objectification.’ That means as you grow, you periodically turn around and look at parts of your worldview–values, beliefs, ideas, ways of doing things–that you experienced uncritically as subject, part of yourself and the way things simply are, and begin to experience them in a new way, as objects–things whose origin you might wonder about and whose ultimate truth you might question…In any case, you are quite a quite different kind of person from the individual in a premodern, traditional society who did not have to make such decisions at all because he or she never began to see the society’s beliefs as objects that could be thought about and questioned.”

That thinking about and questioning is precisely what every one of these educational paradigms seeks to do. Everybody wants a new kind of consciousness and political, social, and economic transformation, but some of the shifts are gift wrapped for sales pitch purposes as about God, Conservatism, or Classical Ed. They all want to get at Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy–Right Thinking and Right Actions. What Ervin Laszlo called “the wise way to think and be” and is willing to use social media to create collective pressure to force adherence so that we are “Democratizing the way we do things, how we relate to others, but also in the very way our minds work–in consciousness itself…a model based in shared interest as opposed to self-interest” fits with that Circe quote above to create Human Flourishing.

Another Circe quote from September 6 in “Language as Belief and Practice” begins with this statement: “Right belief and right action are necessary aspects of growing in virtue. Intellect and knowledge alone cannot save. If knowledge does not reach to the level of heart and action, we are left with smart people who are intelligent in their sinning and their avoidance of consequences.” Sounds like Whole Child and ‘objectifying’ the subjective, internalized realm to me. Let’s close then with another quote from Ervin Laszlo who makes no bones about the integration that will heal this psychological split between heart, mind, and will and the reasons why:

“the tipping point can be encouraged by a change in people’s perceptions…No real change can be achieved without a corresponding change in consciousness.”

Let’s pull these common aims for transformative education of consciousness into the realm of each of our conscious attention.

 

 

 

 

Surreptitiously Subjugating Our Locus of Control: Whose Choice?

Tracking what is really going on in education through what is being legally mandated means I frequently know what is crucial long before I fully grasp why the shift in practices is so important. It lets me know through the decades and all over the world, that whatever the current name and given rationale, certain aspects of people’s Identity formation, the basis for their decision making as they live their lives, and what motivates them to act and guides their perceptions are being systematically targeted. When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I had grasped that Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (Tranzi OBE) and constructivism targeting how the world and reality is viewed were being pushed all over the English-speaking world in what appeared to be a coordinated effort to drive now drive human evolution, along with its institutions, via planned changes to culture rather than genes.

Genes just take too long for transformation plans apparently and if I have learned anything in just this year’s posts alone, we have many people in a hurry to redesign how the world works. Just last week was “Forty Years of Wicked Problem Solving” that will really make use of the new HOTS mandate in the US federal ed law that was designed to be virtually impossible to Opt Out of. Why must everyone be subjugated to such a prescription of what concepts they use to analyze wicked problems that have no fixed answer or have never been taught to the student? I think Brian Head supplied that answer in the above paper when he admitted that “the nature and significance of the policy problem is shaped through debates on ‘framing’. [No need for debate if the frames are mandated learnt predispositions set out in learning standards]. This is crucial for how the debates about problems, contexts and responses are represented…framing [is] a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting and making sense of a complex reality to provide guideposts for knowing, analysing, persuading and acting.”

So nice of governments now to dictate that, isn’t it? All in the name of High Standards and Success for All we get our very subjectivity itself mandated and then put under regular surveillance via poorly understood assessments for compliance. Apparently if someone doesn’t get caught as a K-12 student there’s always higher ed and management leadership retreats targeting that very same locus of control. Everybody suddenly wants to get at and manipulate our “perceptions, values and interests” that control “how issues are scoped” and how we will likely interpret our daily experiences. Over and over again we come across a belief that in the 21st century we must all ultimately have “shared understanding and shared meaning about the problem and possible solutions.”

What better way to do that than to use learning standards and competency framework to:

“develop this psychological capacity…to not only model and manage its external environment, but also to model and manage its internal adaptive processes. It can develop mental models of the pre-existing physical, emotional, and mental adaptive processes that determine how it behaves and acts. The models will enable it to understand consciously how its pre-existing adaptive processes operate, what useful effects they have, how they might be modified, and what the consequences might be. Through self-knowledge they will develop the capacity to gain control over their internal adaptive processes. Increasingly, this will enable them to manage their physical actions, emotional and motivational states, and their beliefs and other mental processes in whatever ways are necessary”

to fit with whatever learning experiences a school mandates and whatever objectives and outcomes it now imposes. That passage really struck me because the Principals and School Supers most aggressive in pushing this vision tend to be the ones being promoted now to ever more lucrative job opportunities. Is this what any parent imagines as higher student achievement? Yet every legal instrument from statutes, to charters, to what HOTS assesses, actually gets at manipulating, and then tracking via data whether the desired adaptions are occurring to these internal adaptive processes. If the same new prescribed “norms, moral beliefs, and other rules of behaviour” can become instilled across a large group as “learnt predispositions” governments will have successfully created a common internal manager guiding future behaviour with nary a heads up, much less consent.

If that seems to be overly ambitious, let me quote that “a distributed internal manager is formed of a set of hard-wired predispositions that are reproduced in each of the members of a group of organisms…[Student-centered learning sounds so much better,doesn’t it?] A distributed internal manager clearly has the potential to organize a group cooperatively…so that they treat others in the group as self… or by hardwiring specific cooperative behaviours in individuals.” In other words, all these plans we keep encountering from UN Sustainable Development Goals to supposedly Balanced Communitarian visions in the name of Founding Principles, Learning Liberty, or a New Golden Rule can all be put into effect through the right type of prescribed learning experiences.

In this vision “each individual is controlled by its particular set of predispositions”, which he or she may not even know were instilled intentionally from preschool through higher ed. The group as a whole can only be controlled and coordinated if a “common set of predispositions is reproduced across the group.” How does the Common Core ever actually go away if it is about hardwiring learnt predispositions? If we wonder why, we have a confession that “if we had different emotional goals and motivations, our technology would be different, as would our systems of government and other social arrangements.”

Sounds like learning standards and competency frameworks then prescribed for the vast majority of students would be a highly effective way to invisibly alter ‘civil society’, just as so many of my links have laid out is the current aim. Just have education or that weekend seminar or management retreat target the “internal adaptive goals” of students, an executive team, or all too often, the elected members of your local school board or private school trustees go through learning experiences that are actually designed to alter their ‘psychological software’, even if the supplied promotional materials and consent forms deny that. It’s the practices that matter and when those practices and participatory experiences whether in a school, woods, or luxury hotel are designed to force someone to “drop their emotional attachments to any ideas, attitudes, beliefs, norms, values, religious systems and moral principles,” we have a targeting of this psychological capacity to change internal adaptive processes.

This ‘distributed internal management’ is an excellent way to prescribe planned and coerced transformations starting at the level of the individual mind and personality without their being the telltale levers of control of a gulag or overt censorship. We should all be alarmed to know such plans exist and that they fit how learning standards work so well. “The hold of the manager over the individual would be greatly strengthened if the individual’s mental modelling of the world led him to believe that the codes and norms were in his best interests” is not a phrase any parent wants to read as the school year starts, but it is essential to grasp how these plans actually work. This is not just a matter of the UN and admitted progressives wanting to use education to fulfill John Dewey’s desire to instill the habits and dispositions essential for his vision of democracy.

I have been looking at Classical Education for a while and the deceitful narratives designed to support it. It too, at its core, seems to want to alter the fact that “particularly in the last two hundred years, a significant proportion of individuals in more complex human societies has developed a strong capacity to use internal linear modelling to critically evaluate their own beliefs.” Apparently that will not do, because our “behaviour is now guided largely by internal reward systems that are mostly self-centred, except for the legacy of the kin selection and reciprocal altruism mechanisms.” Those don’t reconcile us to the desired communitarian ethos prescribed for the 21st century so we get the Good, True, and Beautiful instilled for us and new definitions of Freedom and Liberty. It’s for our own good you see. Needed to solve those wicked problems as a matter of public policy.

Learning standards, properly understood, have “the potential to change how each of us sees ourself, what we do with our life, and the meaning and purpose we see in our individual existence.” Too important to be a matter of personal choice, these have become a matter of prescribed public policy imposed surreptitiously using the law to force compliance with a vision that isn’t our own in most cases.

Shouldn’t we all be aware? If “our thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotional states, as well as the methods we use to influence them, must become objects of consciousness” so that we can be forced to develop new “psychological software”, don’t we get to at least see what is to be altered and why?

Isn’t actual knowledge, instead of prescribed conceptual ‘frames’, the only way to avoid what has been quietly put in place in a most coordinated manner? Especially with the commencement of the new school year?

Parents may well be rejoicing in achievement that can quite frankly be more accurately seen as brainwashing when properly understood.

What happens to the student or adult who is forced into adopting “new psychological software” despite their reluctance to change?

Somehow it seems likely to be more impactful than a notation “doesn’t have a Growth Mindset”?

 

 

Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

A Eureka Moment is when a piercing epiphany takes an area of concern over the effects I am seeing from some education reform and I discover that those very effects were part of the original design. It’s not as dangerous as a heroic rescue from a Thai cave, but it may be about as painstaking in its approach to detail. Regular readers know that I have been concerned for a while, especially in discussions in the comments of these posts over the last two years or so that the widely circulated narratives surrounding student privacy and the social and emotional learning standards simply do not track to the documentable facts about how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work.

The second Eureka moment I will lay out was the one I wrote the previous post while expecting to explain it here and tie together a trilogy of disclosures around GDPR. That was before I saw a reference on the Acknowledgments page to the 2013 book Big Data to a Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy that seemed to be linked through some of the same people to that Eureka Moment. Searching that out pulled up the ultimate epiphany as I learned a new earth shaking term-‘data-driven governance’ and the recommended technique–education–to gain control over people’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations to act while pretending that the regulation is a dispute over how and what to teach or, necessary to protect student privacy. The 2017 article in the European Journal of Social Theory was called “Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection.”

‘Data-driven governance’ turns out to “lie at the very heart of governing people and things” so that we begin to “understand governance not as a set of institutions, nor in terms of certain ideologies, but as an eminently practical activity that can be studied, historicised and specified at the level of the rationalities, programmes, techniques and subjectivities that give it form and effect” to quote from the above article. If you want to believe that is not what learning standards, learning technology standards, Project Unicorn, and interoperability standards actually do, when they are accurately described instead of misexplained for purposes of creating the hype that gets more data regulation like GDPR, let me quote from a different book called Reinventing Data Protection? which described the shift from a disciplinary society with a multiplicity of ‘detention’ facilities to a “control society that can increasingly do without physical constraint and direct surveillance [because] it is individuals themselves who have to impose themselves not only to respect but also to adhere to the norms, who have to integrate those norms in their biography, through their own actions and reiterations.”

If that creates a gulp moment how about the desire to accomplish these feats via the italicized “will to govern through data and the will to govern data“? All the False Narratives I have encountered and fought to dispel through my book Credentialed to Destroy, and subsequently through this blog as they arise, make perfect sense suddenly if the accurate truth might defeat the desire of the “socio-political actors” funding those narratives and enacting the tools of ‘data-driven governance’, to “straightforwardly implement technologies of governance without meeting any kind of resistance.” In other words, FERPA redrafting or Student Data privacy Toolkits will not do anything to impede the data-driven governance agenda and GDPR actually helps cements it.

Let me give another example, on June 26, 2018 Cheri Kiesecker wrote a post for the Missouri Education Watchdog blog that mentioned a World Bank paper as supposedly bolstering the workforce readiness agenda. I had previously been mystified by Cheri’s work on Project Unicorn as it appears contrary to documentable facts so I read the linked “From Compliance to Learning” paper that covered “harnessing the power of data in the state of Maryland.” The report confirmed my continuing concern that the False Narrative treats student data as a static database instead of the changes in the student at an internalized, neural, level, which are what constitute “learning.” Secondly, in the “institutionalizing a data System” the paper accurately lays out how Project Unicorn really works without calling it that. It explains in ways pertinent to ‘data-driven governance:

“Across the public, private, and social sectors in the United States, an array of organizations, associations, and communities helps to expand and institutionalize data utilization by strengthening data standards and easing interoperability issues…The first category, Consistent Data Definitions, focuses on providing a common language and structure for data, a necessary step that makes it possible to share data across different systems and applications. Structuring data so that the data can be used across different systems makes institutionalization possible. From an International perspective, UNESCO’s International Standards Classification of Education (ISCED) is a similar framework that enables comparison of educational statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. ISCED 2011 is the most recently revised version of the framework.”

And precisely what I warned about in the previous post that the Common Core was benchmarked to. It’s a means of governing through data at the level of the mind and personality and it has nothing to do with PII. I promised two Eureka moments and the second intends to use “bottom-up standards”  https://globalcxi.org/ where “systems thinking can help us avoid repeating past failures stemming from attempts to control and govern the complex-adaptive systems we are a part of. Responsible living with or in the systems we are a part of requires an awareness of the constrictive paradigms we operate in today. Our future practices will be shaped by our individual and collective imaginations and by the stories we tell about who we are and what we desire, for ourselves and the societies in which we live.”

Of course education standards get at those levels quite well and the co-sponsor, along with MIT Media Lab, is an entity called IEEE that also happens to have created the Learning Technology Standards that are a part of Project Unicorn when it is properly described. Good reason I suppose not to accurately describe it lest there be that warned  about resistance. I revisited IEEE’s involvement recently after I cited the Hoover paper on math that did not reflect what the Center for Curriculum Redesign said was the new global purpose of math activities. One of the co-authors, Ze-ev Wurman, was shown as now working for IEEE, which seemed awfully coincidental. He has been speaking at Anti-Common Core forums for years. A bit more research into the acclaim for GDPR as supposedly protecting student privacy instead of enabling noetic manipulation led me to discover that Wurman is also listed as a fellow at the American Principles Project that has done so much to create so many of the False Narratives surrounding K-12 education reforms.

It also bolstered my instinct that articles like this recent https://spectator.org/goodbye-privacy-how-new-edtech-is-turning-students-into-lab-rats/ hype function to create a demand for “data protection” that magically turns into an enacted tool of ‘data-driven governance” per international design. CXI Global wants to “develop and use broader metrics…that governs setting goals and measuring success…These metrics for success must be utilized in the setting of standards, ethical principles and policy that holistically reflect the explicit values and expectations of the communities where metrics are deployed.” We always get back to that communitarian and normative function, don’t we? We actually don’t need to speculate either on the specific type of education desired for the “evolution of our species” that will “serve inclusive and sustainable development that increases political autonomy and global democracy.”

The CXI vision cites to the template on “Happiness and Well-Being Policy as embodied in the first Global Happiness Policy Report,” which I happened to have read when it came out in February when it was released at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It pushes a vision of Positive Education that I noted after last year’s summit aligns with Betsy Devos’ rhetoric and recommended policies. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/subservient-and-malleable-students-devos-federalizes-our-moral-obligations/ What this year’s released report adds in that Policy Report is an address at the end that ties the entire agenda to a seminary across the street from Riverside Church near the Columbia University campus. In other words, what happened in Dubai was never meant to stay in Dubai at all.

Getting at the true function of data in education is not a side issue at all. I think it is why the Program on Education Policy and Governance is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as that Rueschlikon Conference I mentioned above. It may take place in lovely Switzerland but the Information Infrastructure Project apparently includes you and me and our children and grandchildren even if we never make it to Switzerland at all. Let me close with a recent blog post tied to this agenda https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/understanding-the-potential-of-ai-for-lifelong-learning-the-need-for-a-critical-perspective/ because the goals, outcomes, prescribed learning, and metrics created for us and embodied in learning standards few will accurately describe are intended to create and “support a democratic and socially inclusive future.”

Without accurate information we are left tilting at windmills while all these plans avoid the needed scrutiny that would cause virtually all of us to resist. I hope these Eureka Moments can be the beginning of the resistance that is not bound up in narratives on data that serve as useful Guiding Fictions that actually enable ‘data-driven governance’ in the 21st century.

 

Missing That Invite for More Strenuous Forms of Soulcraft to Erect the Formative Project?

Me too, but as usual following up on coordinated deceitful narratives like I laid out in the previous post led to pay dirt. So today let’s try to avoid using the M word at all and focus on the related upfront transformational plans laid out once we know where to look. It even pops up in that long-winded Sermon of Love by Bishop Michael Curry at the Meghan Markle/Prince Harry wedding if we are familiar with Curry’s Beloved Community work that the Episcopal Church launched in May 2017. The so-called Formative Project is a belief that governments at every level (not just the federal that the False Narrative always wants to make the Bogeyman) have an obligation NOT to be “neutral towards the values and ends that its citizens espouse.” If your dictionary isn’t handy think of ‘espouse’ as a fancier term for what ‘motivates’ people to act and then remember that this aim is precisely what ‘learning standards’ like the Common Core or any competency frameworks also want to target for control.

Before I quote further from a seminal 1996 book by Harvard law prof and communitarian Michael Sandel called Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, I want to pull this broader discussion of why K-12 education reforms matter to broader plans to a MYWays document that came out this week. https://s3.amazonaws.com/nglc/resource-files/MyWays_06CompetencyList.pdf sets out “Habits of Success–for learning, work, and well-being”; “Creative Know How–for a novel, complex world”; “Content knowledge–for the life students will lead”; and “Wayfinding Abilities–for destinations unknown” that get at what a student has internalized as beliefs, concepts, and values that motivate behavior and guide perception.

That internalized mindset is what learning standards always target and the euphemisms used to obscure this common aim vary from “self-discipline” per the Fordham Institute this week and also Grit advocate Angela Duckworth (who also heads up a Character lab). The OECD calls it ‘self-regulation’ and says it is the central purpose of education globally in the 21st century.  Sandel, Hillsdale College, and the Heritage Foundation all seem to prefer the term ‘self-government’. However these entities bill themselves on the political spectrum, these euphemisms function the same as what Sandel terms as a “republican conception of freedom” and liberty, which “requires a formative politics, a politics that cultivates in citizens the qualities of character self-government requires.”

That vision of changing the person, which I guess we could euphemise as “student-centered learning” like Jeb Bush and the Aspen Institute like to do, needs a new kind of education. K-12 students get the MyWays Competencies or some kind of formative pillars or Portrait of a Graduate laying out the person they are to become. Adults get something like the Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church Seeing the Face of God in Each Other https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf to lay out “a theology of inclusion and justice for our work in this time and place in our history” or the http://www.reclaimingjesus.org/sites/default/files/downloads/reclaiming_jesus_civil_discourse_curriculum_2018_1.pdf which lays the Curry Agenda beyond just the Episcopal Church that led him to a Candlelight Vigil at the White House the week after the wedding.

Everybody seems to want to use institutions like churches, the media, and schools to dictate what we are all to believe in the future and what we are to act to bring about in a collective, non-individualistic manner. Let’s get back to those plans in Sandel’s book (that I really did find following up on something odd the Hoover Institution wrote) as he wants us to move away from the procedural republic we have been for the last 50 or so years according to him (that would be 70 years now in 2018) and use our social institutions to instill in students and adults the “capacity to deliberate well about the common good.” In order to be able to engage in the (required for our own good so that we are no longer ‘discontent’) roles of “sharing in self-rule…then citizens must possess certain excellences–of character, judgment, and concern for the whole.” Also remember that since we live in the world of K-12 that mandates Success for All and churches now want Inclusion for All, both visions effectively mean:

“…given the demands of republican citizenship [we could substitute Beloved Community, depending on our audience, with no real loss of meaning], the more expansive the bounds of membership, the more demanding the task of cultivating virtue. In Aristotle’s polis, the formative task was to cultivate virtue among a small group of people who shared a common life and a natural bent for citizenship. When republican thought turns democratic, however, and when the natural bent of persons to be citizens can no longer be assumed, the formative project becomes more daunting. The task of forging a common citizenship among a vast and disparate people invites more strenuous forms of soulcraft.”

Not usually what a parent has in mind when they hear the euphemism “learning experiences”, but at least we know now why social and emotional learning is so ubiquitous and embedded in daily activities. Sandel, by the way, called the idea that “liberty can be detached from the exercise of self-government and conceived instead as the capacity of persons to choose their own ends…the voluntarist conception of freedom, [which]…no longer needs soulcraft, except in a limited domain.” No wonder we get euphemisms like parental or school choice or the classical theory of education so that political power anywhere in the 21st century is “accorded a stake in the character of its citizens”, whatever their wishes. We should be wary of the term ‘civil society’  too when we read Sandel concluding with:

“different forms of political association would govern different spheres of life and engage different aspects of our identities. Only a regime that disperses sovereignty both upward and downward can combine the power required to rival global market forces with the differentiation required of a public life that hopes to inspire the reflective allegiance of its citizens.”

Is it treasonous to say “No Thanks”? That a formative project of governments enabled through the human mind and deceitfully euphemised about by philanthropies and the think tanks, professors, media outlets, and others they pay is no way to successfully run the 21st century, no matter how much data is now available?

How many people now reflexively use the term “self-government” to mean I am my own person and should be able to select my own ends in life? In the last post, we noted that what now turn out to be some of the same actors pushing this coercive vision of self-government were not being accurate in describing King’s Agenda, at least by the end of his life. If you look at the Beloved Community materials through the links provided, have any Familiarity with the Marxist Humanist agenda from earlier posts, and look at what Sandel wants to solve Democracy’s Discontent, they are all headed to the same place. They also all need a new vision for education. As Sandel notes:

“To assimilate the civil rights movement to the liberalism of the procedural republic is to miss its most important lessons for our time. More than a means to equal rights, the movement itself was a movement of empowerment, an instance of the civic strand of freedom. The laws that desegregated public facilities and secured voting rights for blacks served freedom in the voluntarist sense–the freedom to choose and pursue one’s purposes and ends. But the struggle to win these rights displayed a higher, republican freedom–the freedom that consists in acting collectively to shape the public world.”

We, and especially our children caught up in these related education reforms, are involved with a Formative (re)Project hiding behind deceit and euphonious euphemisms like liberty, freedom, and high standards for all. At their core though, these are all psychological changes being sought in each of us “aimed at the moral and civic ‘transformation of a whole people’. Our minds and personalities targeted for political purposes to transform the neural levels that “tell the tales that order our lives.”

The only way out is to understand it and I seriously doubt it was any accident that the MyWays document was put out the week of so many Memorial Day vacations when few but the designated change makers would ever read it.

Levers and Logic Models: A Framework to Guide Research and Design of High-Quality Competency-Based Education Systems

came out the same day. Remember Logic Models turn out to be a euphemism used for Evidence-Based Policymaking that turned out to be another euphemism for scientific techniques employed in the name of that word we were not going to use today.

Methinks someone views summertime as a wonderful time to get significant changes in place without anyone paying alarming attention. If it’s pretty where you are, just read these summer posts on a rainy day.

Some times people tell me they are best read with a stiff drink anyway.

Rising Like a Phoenix from the Ashes Despite Repeated Autopsies and Pretend Burials

The last line about Pretend Burials is my addition to a quote I took from a translated book from 1970 called Three Faces of Marxism .The active disinformation campaign we started looking at in the last post contradicts the informed contents of that Leonhard book, which quoted one Eastern European after another from the 1950s and 60s on the “true renaissance of Marxism … that is the beginning of an event, the beginning of something historic that concerns the future of us all.” I think that same something is going on now and it’s behind the documentable deceit surrounding (1) what learning standards like the Common Core are and why they are needed; (2) the determined effort starting in the late 80s to pretend the MH aspiration never existed and pretend that Soviet Communism=Marxism; and (3) the misrepresentation of what Martin Luther King aspired to engineer through civil rights laws and in the name of the Beloved Community that essentially coincides with the MH aspiration and the purpose of learning standards.

That interconnection woke me up over the weekend and covering this up made me think of the need for pretend burials to protect these theories from the infamy of their history. If you think I am being disrespectful to Dr King, last week I noticed that part of the brigade pushing the organized disinfo campaign about the Common Core was involved with “The Life and Legacy of The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King” https://www.baylor.edu/washington/index.php?id=951374 .The event was somehow sold out before it was even publicly announced. That suggested to me that KIng’s legacy and the civil rights laws and their use to push Equity and Excellence in education had turned into a vehicle for something else that King may or may not have imagined. Since one of the speakers, Cornel West, wrote a book on the ethical dimensions of Marx’s thought I had an idea what that theory might be.

Since Excellence in education means to combine what is felt, thought, and desired into a single active performance, learning standards are an awfully practical vehicle for gaining access to a means of invisibly implementing those ethical dimensions. That insight turned out to be true as I tracked down another book West had written in that momentous year of 1989 where the MH vision seems to have been renamed as ‘prophetic pragmatism’ with John Dewey and his Democratic Education as its exemplar. Ding. Ding. No need to follow just bread crumbs anymore as everyone who has read Credentialed to Destroy will appreciate, but West went on to quote the architect of the MH view of culture and the role of action (praxis), Antonio Gramsci, and his desire for “a new cultural process, different in character from its predecessors,  a process in which practical movement [performance standards like the Common Core?] and theoretical thought [like Enduring Understandings or Thinking Like a Historian?] are united [Higher Order Thinking Skills?] (or are trying to unite through a struggle that is both theoretical and practical).”

See the role of learning standards in these goals of real world transformation and a reimagined future? See why we keep coming across a push to pretend Marxism has no interest in ideas even though categories of thought are actually front and center to the whole scheme? West himself wanted to shift the conception of knowledge to something that would promote “power-laden people’s opinion” as a means of engineering his desired “culture of creative democracy by means of critical intelligence and social action.” Sounds like the MH vision again and after all I have these old books telling me that back in the 1960s there had been “a renaissance of Marxist thinking” that had begun to “crack the ice of Stalinism and to become a stream once more.” A similar observation proclaimed that “After several decades of grave crisis, we may today speak with assurance of a renaissance of Marxism. It rises like a phoenix from the ashes even though it has repeatedly been subjected to an autopsy.”

It’s much harder to autopsy something that is supposedly buried and past history. If renaming it allows a theory to be operative without scrutiny or infamy that’s an excellent reason for deceit. Sure enough when I looked into whether that renaissance in a certain perspective influenced Dr King I found https://acton.org/publications/transatlantic/2018/01/15/3-reasons-martin-luther-king-jr-rejected-communism a recent attempt to misrepresent what MLK believed from a think tank active in pushing School Choice and once again falsely treating Communism and Marxism as synonymous. That whitewashing makes perfect sense if School Choice is actually a Trojan Horse to spread that unity of “practical movement and theoretical thought” in every type of school or education initiative. Let’s compare to this http://ownershipeconomy.net/2015/08/30/martin-luther-king-called-for-a-higher-synthesis/ as well as http://rajpatel.org/2010/01/18/martin-luther-king-we-are-not-interested-in-being-integrated-into-this-value-structure/ and we get a more accurate feel for where Dr King fits with our MH template.

It turns out that everywhere we look into this vision of how to bring about a more just society sooner or later we find a forthright declaration of the need for “comprehensive information” and a new value structure that will be the “powerful force for altering the internal psychological structure of a human being”. We learn that a NEW kind of education is needed that will “develop the skills and deep habits of partnership and working across differences…the work of rebuilding our world requires a revitalization of abilities to see beyond what is to what can be. [This] combines a sacred and public spirit with the work of culture change to rebuild the moral and civic fabric of our society.” Now if that spirit gets wrapped up in the Good, True, and Beautiful or as a return to “the principles of America’s founding” will anyone notice the shift in the definitions or principles from what is historically accurate?

The three areas of deceit not only come together when MH is properly understood, but framing as a civil rights issue brings in the rule of law as the enforcer. If we compare the quotes from my last post or in the comments there to Leonhard laying out the disdain of the USSR as representing a ‘historically transient form of socialism”; and “the humanist Marxists of different countries all agreed that neither the economic model of the Soviet Union (state ownership of the means of production; economic management by central, hierarchically structured planning), nor the political structure of the Soviet Union (dictatorial rule of the Party apparatus over all spheres of social life” and compare that with what so many so-called ‘conservative’ or libertarian think tanks are telling us Marxism is about, it is clear there is even more of an organized disinfo campaign trying to hide the MH vision than there is over what the Common Core is and what competency-based ed is really about.

Student-centered learning as the convergent aspiration pushed by the Aspen Institute, Jeb Bush, and iNACOL makes sense once we know that “the humanist Marxists consider it necessary to move the human problem once more into the foreground of Marxist theory.” Sounds just like King’s ‘higher synthesis’ and what the state of Massachusetts recently said was the inspiration for all standards-based ed reforms. Personalized learning and Betsy DeVos’ repeated hype that students be educated to their’ full potential’ fits right in with the MH “emphasis on man as the starting and finishing point, as the ultimate objective of the entire practical and theoretical work of Marxism.”

If ‘human socialism’ or ‘the socialism of self management’ need ‘ ideas and concepts’ to become operational and “create the social and political prerequisites for any further development,” suddenly all the deceit about outcomes-based ed in the 90s, and the Common Core and the reasons for data collection now, makes sense. It is no longer a shock that when we looked at the National Constitution Center’s curricula we found communitarian redefinitions of Liberty and Freedom. The deceit makes sense if we understand MH theory from Kolakowski’s actual books instead of lectures about him. Perhaps we should remind Mr Kimball from the last post that Kolakowski quoted MH theorist Erich Fromm who “regards the Manuscripts of 1844 as the fundamental exposition of Marx’s doctrine…Totalitarian doctrines and Communist regimes have in his view nothing in common with Marx’s humanistic vision, the chief values of which are voluntary solidarity, the expansion of man’s creative powers, freedom from constraint and from irrational authority.”

Just the way learning standards and competency frameworks really work and consistent with West acknowledging that he needed Gramsci’s thinking to get to his desired social transformations. We also have Kolakowski marvelling at how Gramsci and Marx got to the same place even though Marx’s manuscripts were still not known when Gramsci went to prison in the 20s. Both men were interested in “the question of the relation of human thoughts, feelings, and will to ‘objective’ social processes.” I just boldfaced those words to remind everyone that those words combined are what the definition of Excellence in K-12 actually means and what the civil rights laws are imposing in the name of Equity. I am going to close with a quote that in my mind connects all these aims to why these psychologically transformative techniques for a political purpose may be partly behind the rise of mass school shootings in places using them.

Kolakowski was greatly worried decades ago about Herbert Marcuse and his advocacy for an “ultimate all-embracing synthesis in which thoughts, feelings, and desires are merged in a higher ‘unity’. Such an aspiration is only possible when a totalitarian myth claims supremacy over thought–a myth based on ‘deeper’ intuition, so that it does not have to justify itself, but assumes command over the whole of spiritual and intellectual life.” Kolakowski was right to be worried, but wrong that this desired unity would have to be accomplished by “replacing the tyranny of logic with a police tyranny.” Learning standards represent another way to get around what he said has been “corroborated by all historical experience: there is only one way of making a whole society accept a particular world-view.”

If no one can recognize the psychological manipulation and there is organized deceit around learning standards, Marxism, and Dr King’s vision, who can even see the coercion creating the desired worldview? Once we can see what is being imposed through the mind and learning standards, we can share Kolakowski’s concern of what will happen when power decides that “normative essences must prevail in every domain.” Like him, we may come to see that the words Freedom and Liberty are being used in ways that have “taken on the contrary of its normal sense.”

But that requires accurate factual information and that’s the last thing this vision of education for the future has in store for us or our children.

Hijacking Concepts to Control a Student’s Framing, Sense-Making, and Thus Their Minds

This post arose from my watching two different videos in the last month that left me deeply disturbed at the implications. The first was Learn Liberty’s “Marxism Explained in 2 Minutes” by Deirdre McCloskey where she said “Ideas themselves create consciousness. It’s not an outgrowth of the world’s material condition and the class struggle as Marx believed.” All of my extensive collection of books on what I shorthand as the MH philosophy–Marxist Humanism–regard Marx as believing that Ideas matter very much because they guide and motivate action in the present to change the nature of the future by transforming the nature of society. After I finished researching this post, we had the 200th anniversary this past weekend of Uncle Karl’s birth. This generated yet more pushes like this https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/05/karl_marx_at_200_his_lethal_legacy_lingers.html pushing the idea that Marxism=Stalinism in Russia and that Marx did not believe Ideas mattered.

If Ideas do matter in the MH vision and especially if the needed ideas can be sales pitched as ‘conservative,’ ‘grounded in the principles of America’s founding,’ or ‘necessary for self-governance’, then the MH vision comes roaring into everyday perception and actions via a new kind of education that gets at the neural structure of the mind and sells it as ‘learning to think critically’. That last quote was from a recent Freedom Center video touting the need for a Code of Ethics in K-12 and rightly complaining of Indoctrination. My problem though is that if the admitted Left wants a child to perceive and act through White Privilege or Racism as the motivating Category of Thought and the so-called Right hyping for School Choice wants the Child to think using “Do the Good. Seek the Truth. Create Beauty,” they are both providing Categories of Thought. All these concepts are designed to change behavior in the present in order to transform existing society by altering prevailing consciousness.

See the problem? We have “conceptually synonymous lexical” phrases with the same function. If the MH vision is all about transforming ourselves and the world, we are headed down a troubling pathway with nary a head’s up as to what is really going on. I said there were two troubling videos. The other was a speech David Horowitz of the Freedom Center gave to a Young America’s Foundation luncheon on March 16 at the Reagan Ranch that was touted as “Unveiling the Left’s Agenda of Destruction”. Horowitz used language about America’s inspirational vision that “all people are equal in the eyes of God and therefore must be equal in the eyes of government and that they are endowed by their Creator with the right to Liberty” that reminded me a great deal of the humanistic slogans used in the MH vision.

That created my working hypothesis that if the Left and Right can create shared understandings and motivating ideals in a substantial group of people under a variety of names and rationales, then the MH vision, especially in its cybernetic form, can come waltzing into the America that we love, or other free societies, without people being aware. Saying Marx didn’t care about Ideas makes that easier to do. Taking noted MH philosophers who fled to the West and taught, like Leszak Kolakowski, and then misrepresenting their criticism of what they called they called wrongheaded fallacy of Institutional Marxism of Stalinism as being what Totalitarianism is all about as this paper did https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/2005/6/leszek-kolakowski-the-anatomy-of-totalitarianism or giving essentially the same speech at a Hillsdale College forum in October 2017 on Soviet Communism and never mentioning all of Kolakowski’s MH work means that not only do Ideas matter, but few people even trying to listen in the 21st Century are likely to hear an honest representation of the continuing collective goals that must be accomplished via the mind.

Unlike Kimball, I did not study under LK at Yale in the early 70s, but I do happen to have his translated into English book from 1968 called Toward a Marxist Humanism so we do have some ability to still eavesdrop on what must have been said. Contrary to what McCloskey stated above the MH philosophy is very much desirous of “replacing economic laws” with the “influence of ideology”. We should be very afraid in 2018 with all the talk all over the world of evidence-based policymaking that LK wrote that “theoretical knowledge of society continues to be a condition for the successful struggle of the communist movement.” Remember how I keep warning about a little c vision that we keep encountering as a communitarian ethos hiding behind supposedly conservative terms like Liberty and Freedom?

LK wrote a great deal about the need to gain control over “man’s conceptual apparatus” so that what was True would not be about whether a theory accurately described existing circumstances. It would be measured by whether a Theory was useful in motivating action to Change Circumstances. “Is the model useful?” would become a new criteria of truth. That might explain all the false narratives we have encountered surrounding education reforms that seem to be financed by the same think tanks or philanthropies now driving a misperception of Marxism as a historic philosophy of how to change the future via Ideas that are believed and that drive changes in behavior. LK knew the necessity of getting at people’s “intellectual organization of material” that were “an integral part of the most elementary activities of the human mind.”

Imagine the transformative power of first prescribing, and then being aware of, what a student was internalizing as a Habit of Mind that would then guide his seeing “the world in such terms and from such points of view as are necessary for him to adapt to it and transform it usefully.” And predictably too in known ways if you happen to be the prescriber aware of what the Categories of Thought are that are being inculcated into a student’s “conceptual apparatus.” What makes something totalitarian is actually not the existence of a gulag, but rather prescribing the categories that “constitute the total apparatus of concepts permitted in use and [that] are imposed as the sole and obligatory system of organizing one’s thinking.” Anyone not recognizing that concern of LK’s having been made operational in the new federal law that applies to the next school year’s requirement that all students must be assessed at least Higher Order Thinking Skills and whether they guide behavior?

When Horowitz said in that same video mentioned above that the new Code of Ethics was needed because “You can’t indoctrinate young people. You have to let them make up their own minds,” I couldn’t understand how that rhetoric could be squared with how Learning Standards actually work or his call to Teach the students to Think Critically. Critical Thought requires the use of prescribed abstract categories. How is that actually making up your own mind? It seems more like the semblance of autonomy where the actual coercion gets internalized and becomes the driver of our decision-making but out of OUR sight (but not the prescribers in education, philanthropy, or the think tanks).

Here’s another quote from 1964 discussing the role of cybernetics in the USSR after Stalin’s death unlocked the Role of Ideas again. These same ideas were coming to the US, which is why Notre Dame’s Press published the book The Social Impact of Cybernetics and we should all be aware that “the abstract ideology or the utopia expressed in concrete terms plays a critical role in defining social purpose and hence in conditioning social decisions.” Acting on goals is one of the hallmarks of competency-based education all over the world so its ties to cybernetics and the real MH aims become clear when we read that “action upon the environment is regulated by a continuing process of perception in which the perceived external reality is compared with the end state to be achieved.”

Is Project-Based Learning then about academics to be learned or simply a means to change the child at the level of their mind and personality? If you think changing the child neurally will always come with rhetoric about social justice, any category of thought that seeks to impose a “viable system of value and perceptual relevance (ideologies)” will actually do. Notice the same language from Classical Education and the Barney Charter School Initiative being used back in 1965 from “The Development of Cybernetics” in The American Behavioral Scientist: “Hence in dealing with social systems in which men form the ultimate self-regulating components, we must deal with the problem of the adequacy of perception and of value to effective action within a natural and human environment. The analysis of men and societies as self-regulating systems brings us back to the perennial philosophic problems of the Good and the True.

We need to consider now whether all the deceit about the Common Core and now Marxism may well be hidden in language about ‘conservative thought’ or ‘principles of self-governance’ as used in this press release. http://www.bradleyfdn.org/Portals/1/PDF%20Files/GEORGE%20WILL_Press%20Release-23Apr2018.pdf .After all, one of the other historic terms for the MH vision that I did not have a chance to cover yet is the “socialism of self-management”.

What if self-governance, self-regulation, self-discipline, and self-management are all conceptual synonyms describing a person with the desired internalized systems of thought and value that can act as a steerable rudder for anyone with power who knows they exist? That would be the MH vision of Freedom and Liberty and that really should give us pause.

We are all in agreement though that Ideas do Matter. It’s why they need to be known and discussed accurately and not just in terms of their Usefulness for Social Planning Purposes.

True Norths, Steerable Rudders, Heuristics Control, and Circumscribed Minds

Now that we have finished that Trilogy, let’s put the parts together since I happen to have https://democracylab.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Democracy-Lab_Anthology-on-Democratic-Innovation_final-1.pdf explaining that this vision of ‘education and action learning’ can generate ‘shared understandings’ that will become the “building blocks for a new DNA of thriving democracy” and the “conscious evolution of our social systems.” That’s why Learn Liberty from the last post and its “Heuristics” video call for “Intellectual Humility” euphemized the same type of sought change. Instead, we are instructed to  begin “recognizing the flawed nature of [our] thinking [as] a bold first step to challenging it” and “be humble about our views.” Yet those of us paying attention will recognize this aim as functioning just like Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset as something all 21st century students globally should now have.

The part the admitted transformationalists via ed, and the purported “How to Think” School Choice ‘conservatives’, leave out is that they are both interested in creating what that Democratic Innovation blueprint called “Inner Work, self and meta-reflection as core competencies for a new OS.” If OS is not yet a recognized acronym in your busy life, it stands for Operating System just like your computer. That’s right. In the name of social and political change, your child’s very hardware and operating software, also known as their mind and personality, along with the biological brain and the central nervous system that embody both, are being targeted. Why? Because “we need to grow as human beings” and “develop a vision and an understanding of who we are and how we can internally host the rapid changes and become self-aware participants in the current transformation process.”

Hard not to visualize some of those marching Parkland or other high school students reading that passage, isn’t it? That blueprint included a quote from a name, Roberto Unger, who I recognized as a Harvard law prof [see tag] and it turned out he had written his vision of education in a book called The Religion of the Future. I think he is interested in a new Operating System as well, see what you think:

“In a free society, the individual has the educational equipment, as well as the economic and political occasion, to cross the frontier between the activities that take the framework for granted and those that bring it into question. He has been educated in a way that enables the mind as imagination to become ascendent over the mind as machine. He has learned to philosophize by acting [Parkland again and ‘action learning’ generally], in the sense that he recognizes in every project the seed of some great or small reformation. The practices of society and of culture multiply opportunities for the affirmation of this preeminence of the mind as imagination over the mind as a formulaic device.”

The “mind as imagination” is likely humble in its views and that ‘formulaic device’ slur sounds much like the Fixed Mindset insult or the supposedly discredited Axemaker Mind, doesn’t it? There turns out to be quite the consistence between the admitted Left and the supposed Right in the new kind of thinking and internalized OS each is pushing in the name of K-12 education. The better to get to a dialectical Convergence apparently. It all aligns with the Idea-centric vision we saw with History Matters, Thinking Like a Historian, and the News Literacy Project. All these curricula create internalized “shared understandings” that can be used to “design impactful projects and policies” so that “the political system can be transformed in such a way that we can adequately deal with our current environmental, social and ethical challenges and create the kind of world we want to live in.”

That willingness to transform needs new values and Ideas. Unger called it–“our vision of who we are and what we can hope for.” It also requires a willingness to be malleable in our dealings with other people–Intellectual Humility. All of these can be accomplished stealthily by what gets euphemistically hyped as “personalized learning,” or High Quality Project-Based Learning, to use just two current examples of what gets billed as “educational innovation”. Underneath though is what Unger confessed was a needed “reorientation of personal experience…and reconstruction of institutional arrangements, as well as with the radical changes of conception, attitude, and practice that such a combination requires.”

Values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors need to be targeted for change to create the sought new OS for each individual, not because they are the basis for an existing OS’s database of PII. Ideas are a useful vehicle to be the new definition of 21st century knowledge because, as Unger admitted, what is really being sought is a “revolution in human affairs”. That, in turn, requires “both change in consciousness and change in institutions…[where] no simple division exists between the religious and the political spheres of life.”

That quote certainly explains why every type of K-12 education now pushes a Tranzi OBE vision, doesn’t it? At stake are “attempts to influence our ideas about the possible and desirable forms of human association in each domain of social life.” Action learning instead of lectures makes sense for a change in classroom practice in this transformative vision when it is “the ideas we act out in our relations to one another [that] must, more than the ones we profess, be the object of concern.” Weigel was calling for much the same change when he emphasized that religion and education should create a properly cathected individual obedient to instilled values and Ideals. We have also seen this same aim pitched by creativity advocate John Raven as creating a ‘steerable rudder’ at the level of the mind and heart.

Without using the “M” word as I did in the last post, when Unger wrote of the need to “rely on institutional arrangements, established in law [good thing he is at Harvard Law, huh?], that restrain governmental or private oppression even as they secure a universal minimum of endowments to everyone,” it is still Uncle Karl’s ultimate vision he is describing. In the 21st century, preschool to higher ed are all being restructured to target the values and Ideas that guide an individual’s decisions and motivate his actions. This is all hidden for the most part and lied about by so many in the employ of think tanks and the media on all sides because we are no longer free NOT to “change our enacted beliefs about the possible and desirable forms of human association.” Education targets that internalized OS, as a government mandate from all levels enacted as a matter of law, precisely because this “effort to envisage and to establish a greater life for the common man” requires a new purpose for education.

That purpose necessitates new Ideas, practices, and arrangements that will, at a neural level, “bridge the gap between the personal and the political.” Hard to see though under euphemisms like Intellectual Humility, Excellence, or Quality Learning. All of these ultimately target what Unger said would be needed to get what he called Deep Freedom, a much more alluring phrase than that M word.

Having a Growth Mindset or Intellectual Humility as a prescribed goal makes sense if a vision of the future needs “many minds and many wills.” A focus on Ideas and Reading and Thinking like a Historian make sense if a desired transformation “evolves in historical, not in biographical, time.” Criticizing the “imperious, autonomous self” or insisting that students become “Hardwired to Connect” makes sense if one has a vision that “it is not within the purview of the individual, no matter how powerful, to direct.” Making the internalized changes to the student the goal of K-12 education makes sense, as so many of the Portrait of a Graduate or Positive School Climate visions now do, if the political and religious vision of the future relies on:

“a change in the conduct of life: a change of heart, a change of consciousness, a change in the orientation of existence.”

In other words, a new internalized OS. a/k/a student-centered learning.

 

Stripping Away the Veneer of the Imperious Autonomous Self to Create Cathected Identities Instead

Years ago, back when I was a college student, I spent a summer studying at Oxford University in England. I got to pull books and work in the reading room of the Radcliffe Camera and cut through worn stone paths in medieval colleges. For me, historical people and ideas are not something anyone supplied as a useful perspective on how to see the world. These are frequently people I almost feel like I could carry on a conversation with. I certainly have been known to carry on conversations about them. I suppose that is what makes it far easier for me to see when Ideas or people are being misportrayed. If someone has transformational plans for society, our economy, and our political systems and does not want opposition, what better tool than K-12 education? And if you want history to be at the core of a drastically revised curriculum so that “we can leave it to our students to apply their knowledge, values, and experiences to the world they must create,” what better reason can there be to manipulate those values and experiences and the Ideas that are now to substitute for knowledge?

The latter quote was taken from the 1987 “Education for Democracy: A Statement of Principles: Guidelines for Strengthening the Teaching of American Values” that those new Massachusetts standards we met in the last post said was the impetus for all the standards-based education pushes since, including the Common Core. The Ideas come from domain-specific literacy, which Reading Like a Historian said in italics just like that had been created by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices. As I discovered yesterday when I was at an Emory Law program that sought to interpret the Parkland mass murders through the ‘lenses’ of Domestic Violence and the Legacy of the Lost Cause, the offered Ideas and concepts to guide perception and the interpretation of people and events may have little connection to actual facts on the ground.

Likewise, at a legal program last fall that turned out to be very Idea-centric in what I was supposed to accept with ‘facts’ used merely to illustrate the point, it was very clear to me that the presenter hoped that his audience knew nothing about Henry VIII other than his much-hyped six wives. Likewise, when I read Larry Arnn’s book The Founders’ Key because of Hillsdale’s heavy involvement now in K-12 reform I discovered erroneous examples to illustrate his Ideas from first, Thomas More, and then poor Queen Anne, the last of the Stuart monarchs. My point is that in all these instances it was extensive, preexisting knowledge of the type that is now disallowed unless someone is a voracious, independent reader that led me to recognize that the offered Ideas or illustrating points were inapt.

The Ideas are generally offered up to appeal to emotions and to create motivation to push for transformative change. If, like me, cathected is a new word for you, I found it in the vision of this author  https://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/democracy-and-its-discontents which had common financing via the Bradley Foundation with the same new history standards called for in 1987 and the communitarian-oriented Council on Civil Society funded in the late 90s and then the 2003 Hardwired to Connect. Weigel’s call for ‘cathected individuals’ who would reject the ‘imperious autonomous Self’ reminded me a great deal of the Tranzi OBE remake of the students pushed in the 90s until it became notorious after Columbine and the Portraits of a Graduate or Learner profiles we are seeing now. It was all originally called for back in 1987 with clear ties to the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEH, and even Martin Luther King’s actual vision via his close friend, Bayard Rustin, who signed.

My dictionary defined cathexis as the “concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea,” which certainly sounds like this new Idea/Conceptual Framework: “we aim at nothing less than helping the student to comprehend what is important, not merely to memorize fact and formula.” “Notions and sentiments” was how the 1987 Education for Democracy also put it. At its core is always the Marxist Humanist vision where “we recommend that a central theme in the study of history be the dramatic struggles of people around the globe and across the centuries to win, preserve, and extend their freedom.” Cathected also fits with this MLK vision released just before his murder, which was cited this week because of its 50th anniversary. https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/index.php/poor-peoples-campaign-1968/  laid out the Bayard Rustin-inspired shift from civil rights to ‘human rights’ with its essential ingredient of economic justice for all. Dr King:

“knew that for the load of poverty to be lifted, the thinking and behavior of a critical mass of the American people would have to be changed.To accomplish this change of consciousness…the poor would have to organize to take action together around our immediate and basic needs. In doing, we could become a powerful social and political force capable of changing the terms of how poverty is understood and dispelling the myths and stereotypes that uphold the mass complacency and leave the root causes of poverty intact.”

That was MLK and ultimately number 1 of those Fundamental Principles is that “We are rooted in a moral analysis based on our deepest religious and constitutional values that demand justice for all. Moral revival is necessary to save the heart and soul of our democracy.” Those new Ideas and values need to be embedded neurally as practiced Habits of Mind. It may only be Catholic educators referring to the ‘cathected’ student, but the concept of cathexis, even if stated through euphemisms, is at the core of all these curriculum reforms throughout every type of education alternative I have reviewed. Having poked around on the Left and recognizing names like Diana Ravitch, Chester Finn, and Bill Bennett on the 1987 document lets look likewise to the supposed Right and what the Charles Koch Institute and other members of the State Policy Network are pushing that gets to the same place.

Back in March I saw an article from the Independence Institute with a title “How to Restore the Founder’s Vision of Liberty for America?”, which sounded rather Idea-centric and contrary to where my personal store of facts would take me. I did notice though that the broad Ideas would fit with the Marxist Humanist vision I keep encountering in my education research (without looking). At its core, it is where both that 1968 MLK position and the 1987 Education for Democracy, and thus the 2018 Massachusetts standards, all intend to go. The article was by a William Watkins so I looked up his background and saw he had been a fellow at the Center for Humane Studies at George Mason. That got my attention with their push of History Matters (covered in last post) and ties to Neuroeconomics. Looking into IHS further pulled up more ties to the insights and individuals we have covered at ISC and in my book Credentialed to Destroy.

Too extensive to lay out here, but every reason to look at their Learn Liberty initiative launched in 2011 to “Explore the ideas of a free society.” Me, I just want to go back to Oxford and get away from that now ubiquitous ‘I’ word, but my knee is still not ready for that much walking. So I settled in with a cup of Lapsang Souchong tea to watch the videos where “we tackle big questions about what makes society free or prosperous and how we can improve the world we live in.” http://www.learnliberty.org/blog/learn-liberty-turns-7/ gets you to what I watched. In case the word ‘Heuristics’ is missing from your vocabulary as it once was in mine, you can substitute other words–Ideas, Concepts, Lenses, or Guiding Principles. If there is a desire to get a ‘change in consciousness’ and a broad segment of the public is to have ‘shared meanings’, few things work better than common learning standards that get at How to Think and Ideas we should use in our decision-making.

I took notes on all three provided videos there and then saw one by economist Deirdre McCloskey (whose book Bourgeois Equality we quoted in the last post) offering up “Marxism in Two Minutes”. She omitted the part about Marx’s Idea of the Human Development Society where a remake of prevailing Ideas and values would be so crucial and just covered that Marx was wrong about the class struggle creating the desired consciousness. McCloskey believes Ideas create consciousness and I think her book title, like the euphemistic Learn Liberty phrase, is really an excellent way to hide the Marxist Humanist template. But like one of those old-fashioned holiday commercials from Ronco I can say “Wait! There’s more!”

Learn Liberty posted a January 8, 2018 video from a professor Howard Baetjer called “What is Communism?” that appears designed to mislead away from the Marxist Humanist visions that are so in play in 2018. The vision MLK wanted, what Education for Democracy sought to create, and what learning standards and competency frameworks also impose, no matter what level of government is pushing them. For anyone without Wolfgang Leonhard’s Three Faces of Marxism: The Political Concepts of Soviet Ideology, Maoism, and Humanist Marxism or Leszek Kolakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism: The Breakdown not just on hand, but read and marked up, I am not calling names or making allegations here. There is a template for little ‘c’ communism and when everyone is using euphemisms and Idea-centric K-12 education to impose that vision without scrutiny, we have every right to notice if we still can.

I think all these videos, but especially that Baetjer one want us to see communism only as “common ownership of the means of production” and never “private ownership”. Meanwhile, the K-12 programs being offered online, in public schools, in parochial schools, in independent schools, and frequently now what gets pushed on homeschoolers via what is eligible for Educational Savings Account reimbursement are ALL Idea-centric and value-oriented.

Have you noticed that all these pushes about Ideas do not seem to want us to strip away from the Idea As Supplied that veneer that it still means what we all traditionally associate with any of these terms? I thought we better start talking about all this while the Internet still remains somewhat free.

I really don’t want my generation to be among the last to have had the liberty to have a genuinely free mind.